WorkSafe ACT to become an independent entity

Released 15/08/2019

Legislation introduced into the Legislative Assembly today will enhance the independence, transparency, accountability and scrutiny of WorkSafe ACT.

The Work Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2019 will make amendments to the Work Health and Safety ACT 2011. These amendments are in response to the 2018 Independent review of the ACT's work safety compliance infrastructure, policies and procedures (Independent Review).

A key recommendation of the Independent Review was to establish WorkSafe ACT as a separate and independent entity. The Bill implements changes to the governance arrangements of the work health and safety regulator using a single accountability governance model.

The new entity will be established as the Office of the Work Health and Safety Commissioner but will continue to trade as WorkSafe ACT. Importantly, and consistent with recommendation 21 of the Independent Review, the regulator's functions will now sit with the Work Health and Safety Commissioner.

To support their independence, WorkSafe ACT and the Commissioner will be independent officers when carrying out the regulatory functions under the work health and safety legislation.

The Commissioner will enforce compliance with the obligations and duties applied to the private, non-government and government sectors.

Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety Rachel Stephen-Smith said the Bill represents a significant step in ensuring the best practice regulation of work health and safety.

"The ACT Government is committed to continually improving the health and safety of Canberra's workers. The Bill will set the foundations to ensure that our regulator is best set up to continue to support the safety of workers now and into the future.

"This Bill creates a governance structure for the regulator that will deliver a clear, independent and well-informed strategic approach to the activities of the Office with appropriate oversight and accountability," says Minister Stephen-Smith.

This legislation also enhances the transparency and accountability of WorkSafe through new reporting requirements and the development of a compliance and enforcement policy. This will increase transparency about the way in which the Office carries out its compliance and enforcements activities, including its aims, approach, tools and guidance material.

- Statement ends -

Section: Rachel Stephen-Smith, MLA | Media Releases

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